Design for Public Good

Why does Socialism have such a bad rap, that it’s some sort of dangerous foreign import? We are all social by nature, tribal even, collectively espousing to a business, a church, a union, an environmental cause, a sports team, you name it. As we grow and mature as designers, as marketers, as humans, the most fulfilling reward is bringing people together and providing solutions for the greater good.

At a time when there is the largest disparity of wealth in America since the “roaring twenties” (hint), at a time when there are more and more families without shelter, at a time when many citizens lack basic healthcare needs, there comes the realization that we need to be more public than private, as  we yearn to come together to explore the issues through dialogue and ideas. There is power in the “social” structure, where we share our concerns, as individuals and as a society. When we enact cohesive thoughts and ideas, when we help others, our awareness grows, ideas are fostered, and change occurs.

Our institutions, our public sector are in need of design skills if we are to stand a reasonable chance of reshaping who we are as a society. Design for the public good. Our challenge today, both politically and socially, lies in our ability to explore new ideas and uncharted paths, instead of trying to improve existing ones. New frameworks, new designs have associated risks, but doing nothing is arguably far riskier. It’s time we collectively, even socialistically come together. Design not for the one-tenth of one percent, but for all of us. It’s time to honor our compassion for all things, as neighbors, as a community, as a society, for the public good.


Invisible People, Invisible Structures

There are many agencies and churches that continue to reach out to our homeless population, providing basic essentials like food, clothing, shelter and compassion.  Yet one particular individual, friend and colleague – artist, printmaker, painter and educator – Neil Shigley, has an ongoing relationship with our homeless population, speaking to and through his art, capturing their personalities and “spirit” as individuals of our ever-changing culture. Neil looks deep. He humanizes the condition, amplifying it, even forcing us to feel their struggles and the implications homelessness has on our streets and neighborhoods, where they reside. Currently Neil’s work, Invisible People, Invisible Structures, is on view at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park. We encourage you to see the exhibit.